Young cancer patients: how to vote for the first time in the general election

If you’re voting for the first time in the UK general election on 8 June 2017, we’ve put together a handy guide on what to expect.

Young cancer patients: how to vote for the first time in the general election

When do I vote? 

All polling stations will be open from 7am - 10pm on Thursday 8 June 2017. You will need to make sure you’re at the polling station within these times, or you won’t be allowed to vote. 

Where do I vote?

Voting takes place in a polling station which is a public building in your local area. The address will be on your polling card, which you should have been sent in the post. You can also contact your local electoral office to find out where your polling station is (find their contact details here).

What do I need to bring with me?

You do not need your polling card in order to vote. You will need to bring photo ID if you are voting in Northern Ireland, but not if you are voting anywhere else in the UK.  

How do I vote?

Simply tell the staff your name and address when you enter the polling station, and they will check you’re registered and hand you a ballot paper. 

Take your ballot paper into one of the private voting booths, and read the instructions at the top. The ballot paper will have a list of the candidates to choose from and will tell you to vote for only one candidate by marking an X in the box by their name. 

If you make a mistake, don’t worry, simply tell the staff and (providing you haven’t put your ballot paper in the ballot box) they will be able to take it from you, invalidate it, and give you a new one.

Once you’ve marked your chosen candidate on the ballot paper, fold it in half and put it in the ballot box. And it’s as simple as that, you’ve voted!

How do I know who I can vote for?

You can vote for any Parliamentary candidate whose name is on the ballot paper. Visit the Who Can I Vote For website and enter your postcode to find out who is standing for election in your area.

I am disabled and need assistance in order to vote, what help is available? 

All voters have a right to vote independently and in secret. Local authorities must ensure that disabled people aren’t disadvantaged when it comes to voting. If you require assistance, speak to staff at your local polling station.

Some of the assistance available includes:

  • Access to polling stations: polling stations should be accessible for all, and staff should be able to direct you to the nearest disabled parking facilities if you need them.
  • Assistance to voters unable to gain access to the polling station: If you are unable to enter the polling station because of a physical disability, the Presiding Officer may be able to bring the ballot paper to you.
  • Accessible polling booths: Low level polling booths should be available for wheelchair users.
  • Assistance marking your ballot paper: If you’re unable to mark your vote on the ballot paper, the Presiding Officer at the polling station can mark it for you. Alternatively, you can take someone with you to help you to vote, as long as they are an immediate family member over 18 years old, or a qualified elector.
  • Other needs: Chairs should be provided if you need to rest.

I’ve had a medical emergency and am unable to get to the polling station, am I still able to vote?

If you have a medical emergency, you can still vote by emergency proxy- meaning someone else can vote on your behalf (provided you are registered to vote). You can apply by completing and returning the emergency proxy voting application form before 5pm on election day. 

I’ve applied for a proxy vote, but my circumstances have changed and I can now vote myself, can I still do so?

Yes. Even if you have nominated a friend to vote on your behalf as your proxy, you can still go to the polling station to vote yourself, as long as your proxy hasn’t already voted for you. 

Can I take a selfie or tweet about my vote?

Not whilst you are in the polling station. Taking photos is banned to safeguard privacy, and tweeting is inadvisable for the same reason. To avoid accidentally breaking any rules, it’s best to leave your phone in your pocket until you’re back outside!

Is there anything else I can’t do in the polling station?

Voters should be able to vote in private for whoever they like, so any activities that might influence others’ votes are banned in polling stations, including discussing candidates and asking people who they’ve voted for. 

That’s it, you’re ready. Happy voting! 

Find out more

For further information on voting in the general election, read our briefing or visit the Electoral Commission's website.

Image courtesy secretlondon123